Women's Health Updates — February 2021
Learn about recent developments in women's health as well as SWHR's activities that promote the study of sex differences and serve our mission to improve women's health through science, policy, and education.
Join SWHR in honoring achievements, advancements, and innovations in women’s health at our virtual Annual Awards Gala on April 29.

For more information, contact [email protected].
SWHR and the Endocrine Society will host a virtual congressional briefing March 2 at 2:00 p.m. ET to discuss the importance of considering sex and gender differences in biomedical research and recommendations for overcoming barriers to their inclusion.

SWHR is pleased to join the Coalition to Advance Maternal Therapeutics in co-hosting a virtual congressional briefing on February 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET on the inclusion of pregnant people and lactating people in clinical trials. The briefing will use the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study to highlight why these populations should be protected through research, not from it. Register today.
Ensuring all women are protected from COVID-19 requires removing barriers that may prevent them from getting vaccinated. Policies must equitably address both access issues as well as vaccine hesitancy among subpopulations of women. Read more on SWHR's blog.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have often been lumped together when talking about COVID-19 vaccine safety. But getting vaccinated during pregnancy and lactation carry different theoretical risks — and potential benefits. Read more from STAT News.
After an outcry from experts and conflicting advice from other public health organizations, the World Health Organization on last week changed its advice for pregnant women considering a COVID-19 vaccine, abandoning language opposing immunization for most expectant mothers unless they were at high risk. Read more in the New York Times.
In comments on the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research, SWHR strongly supported the NIH’s goal to rapidly mobilize diverse stakeholders on a swift, coordinated research response to ongoing pandemic and offered specific recommendations to strengthen the plan’s consideration of sex and gender needs in relation to the pandemic and to pandemic response. Read the recommendations.
Menopause is understudied in research, often misunderstood by patients and health care providers, and unaddressed in many areas of health care policy.

To explore these issues, SWHR recently convened a roundtable of experts to identify knowledge gaps and unmet needs related to the menopausal transition across areas of education, clinical care, research, and policy. Read more on SWHR's blog.
Watch: SWHR's Menopause Webinar
The inclusion of pregnant women and breastfeeding women in medical research is long overdue. The federal Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women (PRGLAC) has devised a plan on how to address obstacles to the inclusion of these populations in research. Learn more in this commentary by SWHR President and CEO Katie Schubert in Scientific American.
Hysterectomies are the second most common surgery among women in the U.S., with Black women getting the procedure more than any other group. Hysterectomies are often performed to address pain and bleeding from a variety of reproductive health issues ranging from fibroids to endometriosis and adenomyosis. However, many women aren’t provided other less drastic options or informed of all the health ramifications associated with hysterectomy. Read more in Women's Health Magazine.
Many women struggle to access essential menstrual products, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers in the U.S. are exploring several policy options to reduce period poverty after decades of inaction. Read more.

SWHR and nearly 350 other organizations signed onto a letter to President Biden discussing the importance of federal investment in research. The letter, led by the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, called for increased and sustainable funding growth for the NIH as well as supplemental funding to allow the NIH to continue to make progress against COVID-19. Read the letter.
SWHR supports the proposed recommendation to improve inclusion rates of premenopausal women in breast cancer clinical trials in a recently released U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) draft guidance for industry. Read more.
Dr. Jill Becker, new editor-in-chief of the Biology of Sex Differences journal, will host a live presentation and Q&A on February 11 at 4 p.m. ET to discuss her vision for the journal and how to get more involvement from the scientific community. Register today!
Join Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Erica Richards and psychopharmacologist Roland Griffiths on February 9 for a conversation on the latest treatments that may provide relief for severe treatment-resistant depression. Register.
This webinar on February 11 at 3 p.m. ET will share detailed information about the NIH prize competition that aims to recognize institutions that have demonstrated successful approaches to improving gender diversity in their biomedical and behavioral science departments. Register.
February is American Heart Month and heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. On February 24, Springboard Enterprises and the Women’s Health Innovation Coalition are bringing the heart health community together to discuss current challenges and breakthroughs in cardiology and to bring awareness to heart health. Learn more.